Air Rifles

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:11 pm on 9th October 2017.

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Photo of Nick Hurd Nick Hurd The Minister of State, Home Department 10:11 pm, 9th October 2017

My hon. Friend predictably makes a very good point. That is exactly the kind of circumstance that the review needs to look at, to make sure that regulation and controls are on top of existing practice in the market.

The point that I am trying to make to the House is that existing controls, particularly in relation to preventing unauthorised access, seem robust, on the face of it. The sale of air weapons to those aged under 18 is prohibited, and except in special circumstances under-18s cannot possess them. Air weapons can be sold only by registered firearms dealers. These dealers must keep records of all sales, including details of the purchaser, and they must complete the sale in person. In respect of online sales, although advertising on the internet and collecting payment via websites is permitted, the final transfer of the air weapon must be completed face to face and not through the post. That is an important safeguard against under-18s accessing such weapons online.

Those restrictions help us to reduce the risk of misuse. Alongside that, we know that accidents involving air weapons can occur, and that when they do, the consequences can be tragic and absolutely devastating. This is why it is vital that all who are in lawful possession of air weapons store them and handle them securely and safely.